CSIRO launches a free programme to support small to medium companies


A new programme to support small to medium (SMEs) health and medical companies developing new products and services is open for applications.

CSIRO’s newly-launched ‘Innovate to Grow’ virtual programme is now seeking applications from Australian life science companies interested in accessing knowledge and tools to support company R&D business planning.

CSIRO says the 10-week programme is suitable for SMEs looking to turn an idea into a viable R&D opportunity and access industry experts to support the commercialisation of their idea.

AusBiotech commissioned research that revealed Australia’s life science industry saw a 40 per cent growth in the number of companies developing technologies from 2019 to 2022. Australia has more than 1,427 life science companies, ranging from small start-ups to multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Almost 80 per cent of the industry comprises small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), of which the majority are pre-revenue and in the process of commercialisation or translation of research, highlighting why programmes such as this are important for supporting commercialisation.

A CSIRO programme spokesperson said participants would work with a mentor to examine their technical and business challenges, explore their R&D opportunities, learn tips for partnering with research organisations, and develop strong funding applications. Eligible participants may be able to access continued support through CSIRO, such as being connected to national research expertise or dollar-matched R&D funding to keep moving their ideas forward.

The 10-week programme involves webinars and a half-day virtual workshop with CSIRO industry and research experts and relevant industry SMEs. Key topics include trends within relevant sub-sectors, panel discussion with collaborating SMEs, and current funding opportunities for R&D.

Participants then move through the self-paced online innovation programme to develop and test their research ideas and business cases, with two to three hours of time commitment required each week.

Programme participants must be an Australian registered and operating business, classified as a small to medium-sized business (less than 200 employees), either currently or in the early stages of exploring R&D opportunities, and operating in one of the below sub-sectors.

  • Health and Nutrition;
  • Digital Health;
  • Botanical pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals;
  • Diagnostics, Biosensors & Biomedical Devices;
  • Biopharmaceuticals;
  • Drug Discovery; and,
  • Vaccines and Biologic Therapeutics 

Applications close on 12 June, and places are limited. Visit Innovate to Grow to learn more and apply.